How Xinjiang-linked Chinese surveillance equipment is ‘stealth-sold’ in Europe, dodging detection

An open-data probe into Dahua and Hikvision exposes how OEM sales tactics are on the rise amid growing ethical concerns over the business with surveillance firms linked to China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang.

‘New brand, good PR, no problems’

An LTS surveillance camera model that is a Hikvision OEM and the Hikvision product on the right — almost identical appearance
The software and manual of an OEM company, in this case, Lorex, will often ‘copy’ or ‘emulate’ the system of the original device manufacturer. Comparing interfaces between Lorex cameras and their manual with Dahua’s, the interface is almost identical. Since Lorex is a Dahua subsidiary formerly owned by FLIR, their products are always either Dahua or FLIR OEMs, IPVM explains say.
In 2019 and 2020, the UK government issues certification for Honeywell cameras (see above). Via the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, the UK government issued certifications to Hikvision, Honeywell and LTSecurity. It’s a scheme that enables organisations to certify their surveillance camera systems against the UK Surveillance Camera Code of Practice.
Honeywell’s Performance Series, Dahua according to claims by IPVM, mentioned in the certification disclosure by the UK Government

Failing to disclose links

Open data Google search query for ‘“Dahua/Hikvision” site:OEM-website’. IPVM says that OEM links to Dahua and Hikvision are intentionally hidden. “Companies do not want customers to know that their brand is nothing more than a label. They sell these products as their own, so naturally, they do not want customers to know they are not accountable for the design, quality, or performance of products”.
Hikvision received a £31m loan from Xinjiang’s Urumqi High-tech Zone (New Urban Area) Safe City & Surveillance system for Social Comprehensive Management. It’s also where the largest camp documented in the region, Dabancheng, is located just outside the regional capital of Urumqi, and where new construction there over the course of 2019 stretched for more than a kilometre with around nearly 100 buildings now, a Guardian report said last year.
Open data proves that a UK police force bought Hikvision surveillance equipment
Documenting the links between Dahua’s R&D (it’s AI tracks beards of local Uighurs) and large police programs in Xinjiang sold to the government (Source: IPVM)

Cyber-security concerns

Import/sales bans could drive OEM sales

Hikvision/Dahua camera detection

The top organisation using Dahua (left) and Hikvision (right) connected devices (What’s Shodan: a search engine that takes a distinct departure from most Internet search engines. Instead of searching through content intentionally served up and delivered to web browsers, Shodan allows searching for Internet-connected devices).
Hikvision connected devices concentrate in central London, often in public places such as near Somerset House next to Temple station (the two images on the left are from 2017 and 2018, the map on the right is from 2021)
Sensitive spots? (Shodan, Google Earth)

Investigative journalist with a technical edge, interested in open source investigations, satellite imgs, R, python, AI, data journalism and injustice